Esso spends US$250mil monthly on LNG project

Main Stories, National

The National, Monday 07th November 2011

Esso – subsidiary of ExxonMobil – was spending US$250 million a month on the various components of the LNG project which included the Hides Gas conditioning plant, Komo airstrip which should be finished by third or fourth quarter of next year, the 300km-long onshore pipeline (completed), 400km underwater pipeline (commenced last week), the gas liquefaction plant outside Port Moresby and export port and 2.2km-long jetty, Esso managing director Peter Graham told journalists over the weekend.
PNG media business reporters and editors were treated to a rare moment with Graham when he personally attended a workshop last Friday and briefed them on the PNG LNG project.
When the airport is completed, it will be much bigger than the Port Moresby international airport and the runway alone will be 3.2km long to support one of the world’s largest cargo carriers, the Antonov. It will fly in most of the plant, equipment and materials for the LNG project.
At the peak of construction – second half of next year – there will be 15,000 workers on site. Already there are 6,600 this year.
Esso has selected 74 of the top brains from around the country and is training them fulltime at its special college at Dream Inn in Port Moresby and by next year, they will be placed in positions around the world. They are aged between 18 to 23.
The next batch of the same number will be recruited soon to replace the first lot when they go for job placements overseas.
These are separate from the training programme at Port Moresby Technical College and the Juni Technical College in Southern Highlands.
He said generally, all the people in their impact areas were in support of the project, but there were instances where “outsi­ders” were disturbing the project.
He said the company would persistently “push and push” and achieve the target of delivering the first gas by 2014.
Asked on the sideline if the company will “push” persistently without due care and attention to local concerns, he said, it would be done “with sensitivity.” Oil Search Ltd – one of the partners in PNG LNG – has been on the ground for many years and understands the culture of the local people is helping Esso deal with community concerns.
He said the company had agreed to deliver first gas in 2014, and is committed to do so.
He said the first gas would most probably be from the current Oil Search Ltd’s oil producing fields as it was re-injecting the gas into the oil fields to help lift the oil up to surface.
Oil Search is also gearing up and is re-aligning its production facilities to enable delivery of the first gas.
Meanwhile, Oil Search reveal­ed at the workshop that total financial benefits to government, landowners and the Southern Highlands and Gulf provincial governments (royalties, taxes, dividends etc) from 1992 to 2010 totalled K12.888 billion.
Some expressed concern that there was nothing much in the impact areas to show for
the kind of money paid out to date.
The reporters were also given updates on all the producing oil and mining projects as well as those nearing decisions on start-up like Wafi-Golpu.
It was a great opportunity for reporters to meet company representatives and to help them establish contacts to verify information for their articles. The two-day media workshop was sponsored by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.